Luke Holland’s final mission to present his “final report” to the world was fulfilled with the late director’s release on Friday. A documentary film about the Holocaust.
The documentary filmmaker, whose grandparents were killed in the Holocaust, began urgent action in 2008 to meet the last architects of the Third Reich living by Adolf Hitler.
There are no monsters from the history books, but ordinary German men and women who participated in or remained silent at the horrors of the Holocaust – from former SS members and concentration camp guards to farmers and housewives. After 300 interviews and treatment work done, 71-year-old Holland passed away in July after a long battle with cancer.
“The movie itself is the culmination of a life of work and mission,” says longtime friend and co-producer Sam Pope. “Luke was very happy with his elimination and made him cross the last line. Complete his mission.”
Bob, who met the filmmaker at the age of 6 when his family moved to his small village in East Sussex, England, believes that his filmmaking mentor was designed to be the “ultimate account” of his entire life.
He was born in Holland in the United Kingdom and discovered at the age of 14 that his mother was a Jewish refugee who fled Vienna, Austria, shortly before the Germans moved there. Jews were collected and sent to concentration camps, including Dutch ancestors who had perished.
“His knowledge of the killing of his family ignited and informed his life and work,” says Bob.
The Netherlands became documentary filmmakers and made films like “Good morning, Hitler!” (1993), which showed Hitler and senior Nazis up close through the monitored home videos, I Was Working a Slave (2000), with an emphasis on the Compensation Campaign for Ex-Nazi Slave Workers.
However, in 2008, the Netherlands found itself standing in front of a closed window giving a passing generation the last word on the atrocities that had happened.
“He told him that was the last moment he had to take these interviews. Time was always against him and this generation is dead,” Bob says. First he went to meet the people who had killed his grandparents and asked them why? But if he can’t meet her, he can meet people like her. “
The Netherlands faced a decade of financial and logistical problems gathering interviews, often sleeping on friends’ sofas in Germany to save money. But the German speaker’s ability to have conversations with ordinary people led to surprising discoveries, some of which had never been whispered before, in modest rooms with cuckoo clocks and a nursing home. Some respondents continued to deny any knowledge.
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A former Wehrmacht fighter referred to the family farm where refugees were hiding from the nearby Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. In another move from the Netherlands, the man admitted: “Well, we discovered it and reported it.”
Holland continued working on the film in 2015 with his final cancer diagnosis. “We didn’t know how long we would have to finish this movie. But it was past,” he says.
Dr. Stephen Smith, CEO of USC Shoah, has been in contact with the Netherlands since the project was founded. He describes the final film as “a remarkable contribution, the first time that we have actually seen the history of the Holocaust through the eyes of those who were part of the infrastructure built by the Nazis.”
Today in particular, it is important to obtain dark discoveries from privileged individuals in society.
“When you look at them as humans, the movie really sees that there weren’t any monsters. They were people who did terrible things and lived through the consequences,” Smith says. “The last story is that Luke holds them to some extent, and it shows us the fragility of human nature and how easily ideology can be deceived and worn. The military uniform”.
Pope says he contacted Holland’s widow, Yvonne Hennessy, the mother of the couple’s two sons, when the movie came close to its release and found a strong mixture of familial feelings.
“It’s a difficult and emotional experience for everyone,” says Bob. “But to get to that point, so that Luke can do it and see that the questions he wants to ask are audible and understandable – they are incredibly proud of him.”